This website covers topics on knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

F1 as the knowledge management key

Or... Could a built-in "help" system be knowledge management?

The Act-KM group has been talking about Microsoft's infamous Clippy and how the MS Office and other "help" systems potentially relates to knowledge management. 

Most people love to complain about Clippy, and I am happy to join in the fight on that front.  Primarily, he is intrusive when I don't want him, and of no use when I really need help.  On the other side, Clippy usually appears with context-specific assistance, geared toward getting me through a specific task. 

As with many expert users, I turn off this kind of non-expert help and head for the F1 key when I am uncertain on how to do some arcane function.  On the other hand, when I am a novice at something (like bookkeeping for my company), I find help systems incredibly frustrating because I don't know the terminology in the program.  And in the case of bookkeeping, I don't even know the terminology of the profession.

But knowledge management?  In an ideal world, a KM system gives you what you need, when you need it, and in a language that makes sense in your world.  The "what you need" might be information in the form of a "how to," but it also might be references to related materials or even to people who might be able to help.  Yes, this is all information, but if it fits with what you need, it leads to knowledge to get the job done. 

Of course, people have been looking for this holy grail of tools for quite a while.  Maybe we'll have the capability someday to turn F1 into an intelligent tool that supports knowledge management.  For now, it is the realm of fiction (Snow Crash) and vision (Apple's Knowledge Navigator).

Barriers to knowledge sharing

Schmooze with Lou and Steve 14th September in Chicago